Who’s littering non-alcoholic drinks, and what’s driving that particular littering behaviour?
In a project funded by the Coca Cola Corporation, Keep Britain Tidy asked The Hunting Dynasty (after a competitive pitch) to design a methodology specifically around non-alcoholic drinks. High street retail areas in Liverpool, England were identified as representative.
We designed a multimodal approach – on-site in Liverpool over two different weeks we:
We experimented with the first two (extra bins and extra cleaning) by splitting the observation across two different weeks, and having extra bins installed and extra cleaning performed between the two.
The effect of this was to reduce littering by about 10% overall (see trend line, below). That’s a £100m reduction of the £1B a year UK litter problem.
However, there was no change in non-alcoholic drinks littering, so we can discount affordance and beautification as useful for solving the non-alcoholic drinks challenge, and recognise that messaging (the third factor) may be the way to change behaviour.
Also, a high proportion of people admitted littering non-alcoholic drinks, and all of them cited ‘laziness’ as the reason. And in recognition of this, their ‘Personal Norms Against Littering’ measure was weaker than average.
Executing intervention collateral or products is not part of the brief. However, a messaging component can be part of an intervention, such as in the Don’t Mess With Texas’ campaign beginning in the 1980s. For more read an excerpt from Oliver’s book ‘Inspiring Sustainable Behaviour’ here, or this blog post, however, in short, Texan youth continued littering on highways despite $1000 fines – fines that stopped every other age group from littering. The young men’s (was mostly men) distain for the law was matched only by their love of Texas’ sporting and country music heroes; these were the people the youth aspired to be. And it was these people shown on TV pushing rubbish in a bin and employing the viewer ‘Don’t Mess With Texas’ that saw roadside litter by the young men down by 70% over five years.